Prospective imac buyer questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cue928, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. cue928 macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    I'm thinking about making the transition from PC to the new imac but have a few questions.
    1) Noise: I recently returned a T61 because it was too noisy. The fans cycled on and off every 2 minutes, even during Internet usage, word processing, etc (hardly processor intensive apps). Lenovo had billed it as the coolest, quietest laptop but my experience was anything but that. How quiet, exactly, are the new aluminum imacs?

    2) Heat: I looked at the 20" and 24" models in Best Buy. As I ran my hand around the edges to see how hot they were, the 20" model was warm but the 24" model seemed to be inordinately more so. The store was way too noisy to see how the fan was trying to compensate but I have concerns about machines that run that warmly in terms of their longevity. I've steered clear of slimline pc's in the past due to mitigated ability to dissipate heat.

    3) Windows: I am not a Windows addict and I will do anything to not use Vista. However, I like XP just fine and I am a big fan of Office 2007. The office 08 version for macs doesn't do a whole lot for me, so I am thinking of partitioning the drive and running XP too. Has anyone had any experience with this? Does it run smoothly?

    4) TV: Several PC's that I am looking at allow you to hook up cable and watch TV. Does the imac allow this?

    5) Processor: Intel has released their quad core processor now. Any idea if/when it will be in the imacs?

    Sorry for all the questions, thanks for your assistance.
  2. CBAviator macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    I can answer a few of your questions relatively well, as I own the 24 inch.

    Of course, this is all subjective, however, they are VERY quiet under most circumstances. I would say that 99% of the time, I don't hear a thing from my iMac, even in complete silence. There are often times I have put it under heavy loads with photo editing and it does just fine in terms of noise---I wouldn't worry at all about this.

    You have to keep in mind that these iMacs are aluminum. Aluminum is meant to dissipate heat at a much more efficient rate than plastic. It's only natural that it will feel relatively warm. Although there are still going to be differences, the reason the metal feels so much warmer than it's plastic counterparts is because the heat isn't being trapped in plastic.
    I haven't done this, however, many people have had good success. Just don't use Win XP SP1 or you'll end up formatting the wrong side of the hard drive (there's some sort of conflict with earlier Microsoft disks)

    Not directly. As of today, there is not a video "in" on the iMacs. You'll have to use a video capture device. This may or may not be something that will be installed on iMacs in the near future. That's left to another discussion.

    Can't answer this one for you.
  3. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    1) quiet as a church mouse.

    2) they feel hotter but the air coming out of the vents is cooler than many PCs I have had.

    3) XP is a dream on the iMac. Runs smooth as silk.

    4) Elgato EyeTV (USB add on)

    5) iMacs use mobile processors. No Intel quad-core mobile processors are scheduled for a few months yet.
  4. cue928 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    Prospective imac buyer questions

    Hey, thanks for this information, I appreciate it. The biggest thing that is attracting me to the imac is aesthetics. These new ones, especially with their keyboards, look great. Much more so than a big, boxy PC (even with the tower hidden).

    Regarding the chips, do you think it would be worthwhile to wait for the quad core?

    One other thing I might ask is if there is anything that anyone is disappointed with on their aluminum imacs.
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    The only downer for me is the glossy screen. But I do a lot of photo work; if I didn't it wouldn't matter to me.

    I'll also +1 for the Eye TV. It is a remarkable device and turns your Mac into a DVR with remote programming abilities through Titan TV. It does 1080 HD and surround sound encoding. Pair your iMac with a receiver that has an optical input and you'll have a very nice 5.1 surround sound system.
  6. nout72 macrumors regular


    Dec 27, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Mine is mostly extremely quiet
    It's hard drive will only make a low noise when the iMac is doing its batch tasks (you can compare this to PC's defragmentizing, but it is completely on the background)
    The low noise, when doing the tasks, only occurs when the computer is coming out of its sleep-mode, after 8 hours or longer or when it was shut off for 8 hours or longer.
    This subtle noise will last for 10 minutes max.

    The other noisy thing about the iMac would be the superdrive.
    When inserting a disk, the quiet beast suddenly starts to breath heavily, the fans blow pretty loud - well loud in comparison to the overall silence, nothing really extreme.
  7. cue928 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    Prospective imac buyer questions

    What do you mean by superdrive? Are you referring to the DVD drive? If so, that is a question that I left out - does the drive run loud when playing a CD or DVD?

    I can live with some hard drive noise; what killed me on my Lenovo was how loud the fans were and how frequently they came on. I know I'm probably driving that point into the ground but it's a big deal for me.
  8. nout72 macrumors regular


    Dec 27, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Yes the Superdrive is the DVD drive.
    It is not very loud but in pretty big contrast to the overall silence of the machine.
    The reading of a disc will make some noise, the fans begin to blow, but the noise is not constant and the fans usually stop when the disc is read.
    Playing a movie on DVD, when the disc is already read, there isn't any noise.
    The same with a music CD, skipping to another track however makes the usual 'search' sound, just like a CD player does, but the fans keep quiet.

    However, with some discs - old and crappy CDR's for instance - which for some reason are more difficult to read, the fans start to blow more frequently.
    But I assure you: the noise will never be intolerably loud or at a constant irritating level.
  9. cue928 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    I'm sure I sound anal retentive on the sound, but I appreciate the advice. I think the biggest thing now for me to decide is if I can justify the premium for an imac when a Dell desktop would probably fit me just fine. I like the aesthetics of the new aluminum imacs and that is probably the biggest attraction for me. I am pretty sure I would partition the drive and run XP too. I've yet to have the nightmares that some have with XP and my last Dell desktop lasted five years before it crapped out and thoughtfully provided me with the blue screen of death :eek:
  10. nout72 macrumors regular


    Dec 27, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Good luck with your decision!
    The Mac operating System OSX would be the main reason for me to buy an iMac, the gorgeous looks a close second :)
    Give it a good thought, a nice Dell (you can't be unlucky a second time) with Windows installed isn't bad either.
  11. macdots macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2008
    I'd go for the mac

    I am a recent convert.. bought my first imac in Sept 2007 (the 20"). All I can say is that I'm quite happy with it. The intuitiveness, smooth OS operation and bundled software are the biggest plus points for me. Aesthetics matter, but I wouldn't value it more than performance !!!
    It is perfect as a Home Computer - Photos, video editing, music, movies and web surfing are a very pleasant experiences.
  12. cue928 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    Hey thanks for your reply. I'm going to visit the apple store tomorrow.
  13. mschmitt macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Less than two weeks to go.

    Why not wait until January 15th to see what's announced at Macworld?

    As for your questions:

    1) The only noise you will hear will be drive heads seeking data and optical disc insertion, ejection, and spinning.

    2) My MDD G4 PowerMac is a space heater. The iMac G5 would fire up fans to audible levels during iMovie effect renders. My Intel-based iMac, however, is cooler to the touch than any Mac or PC I've owned.

    3) Windows XP runs great via Boot Camp, and Apple's drivers for Windows work very well (iSight, volume controls, etc.).

    I can't answer questions 4 or 5, but you should see what others have to say here:

    Good luck with your new Mac.

  14. cue928 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    I purchased a new apple keyboard for my pc tonight at Best Buy. If that's not dipping one's foot into the water, then I don't know what is. But on the way out, I stopped once again to look at the aluminum imacs. Once again, I put my hand around the top of the 24" model and found it to be almost uncomfortably warm to the touch. The 20" model was better but not by much. That is what worries me so much. I realize that aluminum conducts heat much better but I just can't imagine how heat like that is good for the parts inside. Really makes me question the system's longevity.

    Naive question here: what is January 15th at Macworld?
  15. mike12806 macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Just thought I'd add that I LOVE my 20 inch 2.16 core 2 duo white imac. It doesn't ever run hot.....when converting video files and itunes visualizer on and eyetv running on a second monitor, i can't push the cpu temp above 60 C. As for using the imac as a media center type pc, with eyetv and front row, you get the best of both worlds. Now only if EyeTv was directly integrated into Front Row....:(
  16. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    As others have said, the frame serves as a heat sink, which reduces the load on the system. It is supposed to dissipate a lot of the heat. What you're feeling is heat that's being dissipated because it's not trapped on the motherboard. A hot top means a cooler inside with less fan noise. What feels hot to your hands is not hot to a CPU.

    While a plastic case would feel cooler - and, indeed, my original Intel iMac is much cooler on top than my 24" 2.8 GHz Aluminum one, the air pumped out is a bit warmer on the older one.

    Also, with respect to sound, it's easy coming from a PC background to discount discussions of how quiet the iMacs are. They are basically silent. You hear the drives because there isn't anything else going on. The fans referred to when discussing the optical might actually refer to the sound of the optical - I personally don't hear the fans when I insert a DVD, I hear the optical spin up.

    But when you're not loading a DVD or seriously tasking the drive, you won't hear the iMac. Not "you will barely hear it". You won't hear it.

    Don't worry about longevity. Not only is it essentially a laptop motherboard and so not particularly hot anyway, it's in a vertical orientation encased in a giant heat sink. It stays plenty cool enough.

    Edit: January 15th is the keynote speech at MacWorld San Francisco, where Steve Jobs will reveal the latest hardware and software.
  17. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    You think the AliMac's warm, you should try out a G5 iMac sometime. Make sure to put on asbestos gloves...

    Seriously, the heat issue is minimal. Certainly less than spec'd.
  18. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    When I bought my first Mac (iMac 20 inch 2ghz Core Duo), I was coming from the pc world myself. I had a Dell XPS system that drove me nuts with all the fan noise. Anyway I bought the iMac hoping it would be a quiet machine, and it really is everything I hoped it would be.

    I don't think you'll be disappointed at all if you choose an iMac. They really are near silent when in use, and the superdrive does make noise when it spins up as other posters have said, but it gets quiet as well.

    Side note: I recently had to turn that old Dell on to reinstall XP so I could give it to a family member. It's still as bad as I remember with all the noise. :D

    Enjoy your purchase.
  19. cue928 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    Sounds good. One other question, though. If you leave a DVD in the system for the length of a movie, how hot is the disk when you remove it? Thanks!

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